Thank you and merry christmas!

A big thank you to all of you who have bought my books as christmas gifts. I am so happy my books can be found under several christmas trees this holiday season :).

Are you not one of those who bought one of my books this christmas? Don´t worry, I can assure you they will be just as readable and "giveable" in 2018. :)

God Jul, Merry X-mas, Prettige Kerst, Joyeux Noel and Feliz Navidad!


About a christmas pudding

I continue with the tradition of sharing a poem for christmas.

This year I share the poem Sam´s christmas pudding by Marriot Edgar.

I choose this poem since one of my sons is named Sam, since I have lived in Spain and since the poem is a story - and you all know I like stories.

It was Christmas Day in the trenches
In Spain in Penninsular War,
And Sam Small were cleaning his musket
A thing as he'd ne're done before.

They'd had 'em inspected that morning
And Sam had got into disgrace,
For when sergeant had looked down the barrel
A sparrow flew out in his face.

The sergeant reported the matter
To Lieutenant Bird then and there.
Said Lieutenant 'How very disgusting'
The Duke must be told of this 'ere.'

The Duke were upset when he heard
He said, 'I'm astonished, I am.
I must make a most drastic example
There'll be no Christmas pudding for Sam.'

When Sam were informed of his sentence
Surprise, rooted him to the spot.
'Twas much worse than he had expected,
He though as he'd only be shot.

And so he sat cleaning his musket
And polishing barrel and butt.
While the pudding his mother had sent him,
Lay there in the mud at his foot.

Now the centre that Sam's lot were holding
Ran around a place called Badajoz.
Where the Spaniards had put up a bastion
And ooh...! what a bastion it was.

They pounded away all the morning
With canister, grape shot and ball.
But the face of the bastion defied them,
They made no impression at all.

They started again after dinner
Bombarding as hard as they could.
And the Duke brought his own private cannon
But that weren't a ha'pence o' good.

The Duke said, 'Sam, put down thy musket
And help me lay this gun true.'
Sam answered, 'You'd best ask your favours
From them as you give pudding to.'

The Duke looked at Sam so reproachful
'And don't take it that way,' said he.
'Us Generals have got to be ruthless
It hurts me more than it did thee.'

Sam sniffed at these words kind of sceptic,
Then looked down the Duke's private gun.
And said 'We'd best put in two charges,
We'll never bust bastion with one.'

He tipped cannon ball out of muzzle
He took out the wadding and all.
He filled barrel chock full of powder,
Then picked up and replaced the ball.

He took a good aim at the bastion
Then said 'Right-o, Duke, let her fly.'
The cannon nigh jumped off her trunnions,
And up went the bastion, sky high.

The Duke, he weren't 'alf elated
He danced around trench full of glee.
And said, 'Sam, for this gallant action.
You can hot up your pudding for tea.'

Sam looked 'round to pick up his pudding
But it wasn't there, nowhere about.
In the place where he thought he had left it,
Lay the cannon ball he'd just tipped out.

Sam saw in a flash what 'ad happened:
By an unprecedented mishap.
The pudding his mother had sent him,
Had blown Badajoz off map.

That's why fuisilliers wear to this moment
A badge which they think's a grenade.
But they're wrong... it's a brass reproduction,
Of the pudding Sam's mother once made.


You need to dare more Annika

My friend and colleague Lisbeth and I were going for lunch. When going out of our office building she asked me why I didn't display my books at the entrance of the building. I answered that I didn't think that was allowed.
"Sometimes you need to dare a bit more Annika"

Ok, since I just challenged myself to sell 90 books in 90 days  (you can find the previous posts about this here: Join my journeyAnnika are you never satisfied?, Rapid Planning Method)
I understood what she was saying. To achieve my goal, I need to dare more.

So one evening after working late and being more or less alone in the office, I put up the books at the cafeteria, along with information about how to contact me (and how great the books are of course...).

I kept repeating to myself:

"It is better to ask for forgiveness afterwards than for permission in advance"

However, since I work with some persons who are responsible for the facilities, I didn't just want to ignore the rules I understand are there. So half a day after putting up the books I sent a mail to my colleague.  I told him I had put up the books and I asked if they could be there the rest of the week. I knew he receives a lot of mail so I did not expect an imminent answer. Meaning, I knew I was buying myself some time.

Once the books had been there for a day and half I got the answer that unfortunately it is not allowed.

The reasons for this rule are completely valid so I removed the books the same day, thinking to myself:

"Well, at least I went out of my comfort zone. I dared a little. Maybe it will pay off some day."

I did not know then, that "some day" would be the same day. :)

In the afternoon I met a woman who attended one of my lectures a few years ago and was kind enough to let me know that she appreciated it and we have been saying hello to each other ever since.

When we met today she gestured to the place where my books had been displayed and said: Have you written books? Can I buy one?

So, my small step outside of the comfort zone paid off immediately!

Thank you Lisbeth, for pushing me :).

Do you get outside of your comfort zone to achieve your goals?
Do you surround yourself with people willing to push you outside of it and supporting you there?

If you do you will achieve your goals faster.
I hope you are joining my challenge with a challenge of your own!


90 books in 90 days -Rapid Planning Method, RPM

Welcome to my 90 books in 90 days challenge!
Here are the links to the previous posts:

Join my journey
Annika are you never satisfied?

So, I want to sell 90 books in 90 days. Where to start?

I am a certified Project Management Professional. I have worked with projects in the corporate world for more than 20 years. I know how to plan, I know how to set and work with goals.

However, I didn't want to apply the standard SMART goals for this.
(As I wrote in a previous blog post, I am not that fond of the A and the R in the SMART goals anyway).

So I decided to use what Tony Robbins called Rapid Planning Method, where you define Results, Purpose and Massive actions.

What is the Result I want?

90 sold books in 90 days. This means 90 books sold by the end of February 2018.

What is my Purpose for this? 

  • I want to share my treasure - the stories in the books - with more people. I have readers who say my books have changed the way they look at life, I have readers who long for my next book because they enjoy reading my stories. I want to give this to more people! And - as silly as it may sound - I want to give my characters, who I know and care for - more readers.
  • I want to increase my impact. More readers - more impact.
  • I want to increase my business skills so I will not only be a Storyteller, but a business savvy storyteller.

What Massive Action will I take?

With the Result and Purpose defined, determining the needed Massive Action is pretty straight forward. I will tell you more about it in the next blog post.

Do you have something in your life you want to achieve but you don´t really know where to start?
Try the method above for your goal and we can work towards our goals together :).


90 books in 90 days - Are you never satisfied Annika?

Welcome to my 90 books in 90 days challenge!

You can find the starting post of this challenge here.

"Blir du aldrig nöjd någon gång Annika?"
Marie - my friend and then colleague - asked me the above question, which translates to "Are you never satisfied Annika?"

We were talking about my first book Jenny, Jenny and I mentioned that both my publisher and I had hoped to sell more books than we had at that time.

Marie then looked at me and said:
"Annika, there are so many people who want to write a book - and they never even get started. Some start but don´t finish. Then a few people conclude the writing but never get published. And here you are, with a published book and you are dissatisfied because it hasn't sold more. Are you never satisifed?"
Her comment made me think of an interview with Madonna, early in her career. The interviewer listed all her accomplishments so far and then asked:  What else can you possibly want?

Madonna answered (as you can see in this short video): 
I want MORE!

Here I am, seven years after my conversation with Marie. I have written four published novels and I have many satisified readers. But since I - like Madonna - want MORE, I have now decided to challenge myself and sell more of my books.

What about you? Are you satisfied? Or do you want more?

Actually I hope your answer is different. I hope you say:

I am satisfied AND I want MORE!

I hope you want to join me and maybe start or continue a challenge for yourself!


90 books in 90 days - join my journey!

No, I am not talking about speed reading - I am talking about a challenge to myself:

Sell 90 of my books in 90 days.

In a series of posts I will share my successes and failures towards my goal - and I am looking forward  to your advice and support along the way.  Maybe you want to take the opportunity to challenge yourself at the same time? Then we can follow if not the same road, interesting roads at the same time.

Hopefully this will be interesting both for me and you and I hope we will all learn a lot on the way.

Let's get started!


Do you set goals within the comfort zone - or where they make a difference?

I am sure you have heard about the SMART goal setting. Everyone in the corporate world  - and many outside of it - have learned that goals should be:

Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-related

I gave this up long ago. Why? Because the A and the R make the goals so booooring.

Perhaps you have, like myself, goals in your organization that are something like:
  • Decrease the number of errors reported by customers by 10%
  • Increase profitability by 15% in two years
  • Increase the amount of women in leadership positions to 23%

Oh, sorry, did I hear a snore? If you fell asleep I understand you fully. SMART goals may be easy to define and measure, but they are rarely fun and inspiring.

Goals are meant to lift us high, so we can fly above the hurdles without even noticing them. Or, as Henry Ford put it:

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal"

To keep your eyes on the goal, the goal needs to be inspiring, scary and exciting. Not realistic and achievable. Not something we can measure and tick of as either achieved or failed. SMART goals will always be within, or possibly on the edge of your comfort zone. While we all know the magic happens outside of it.

Woman standing on red rocks celebrating success. Stokpic.com

Are you afraid of setting the crazy goals? For yourself or maybe for your employees?
If you are, consider the outcome of the study conducted by Leadership IQ.

The study concluded that employees who said their boss pushed them harder than they would push themselves, were more likely to consider themselves to be high performers. Since their boss thought they could go far - they thought so themselves.

Afraid of failing if you set the bar too high? Consider what Winston Churchill said:

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Forget the SMART goals - go for the FUN ones. And create magic.

More info on this subject:
Why you want to be stretched outside your comfort zone

Failure is the key to success


Make the most of your stories and traditions

Today it is pakjesavond here in the Netherlands. The day when Dutch children receive gifts from Sinterklaas and his servants de Zwarte Pieten.  

I find it interesting that a saint who was born year 270  still impacts so many  people. Saint Nicholas was a Greek bishop of Myra, a patron saint for children. Actually, the legend of Sinterklaas is the origin of the more known Santa Claus. This saint has influenced the lives of children ever since.

How can someone who lived so long ago inspire a tradition that - almost 2000 years later -  is still celebrated?

One reason is that legends impact us. Since stories can be powerful influencers, they are sometimes used to manipulate people.

Sinterklaas is far from the only figure who has been used to teach children the importance of being kind (then you will get presents) and that bad things will happen to you if you are naughty (then Zwarte Piet will put you in a bag and take you to Spain). Similar stories are used in many other legends and not just for children. I believe most of you have heard the story of the importance of being a good person (then you get to heaven) and that bad things will happen to you if you are evil (then you will end up in hell).

The story of Sinterklaas has evolved and changed throughout the years. Today Sinterklaas comes by steam boat to the Netherlands from Spain and the once scary Zwarte Pieten are spending more time having fun with the children than scaring them. Parents may still use the legend to manipulate their kids, but more often than not the tradition is used for having a great time together as a family. Kids put their shoes in front of the chimney, sing for Sinterklaas, leave a carrot for the horse and the day after they are rewarded with a gift in the shoe.

Celebrating Sinterklaas 2013

What about your own stories?  Beliefs you have about yourself. That you are stupid / smart, ugly / gorgeous, kind/mean, clumsy / handy....

The story of Sinterklaas has survived for almost 2000 years. Your stories about yourself and people around you may very well last your whole life time. It is up to you to ensure the stories are enjoyable and good for you.  Just like a well-celebrated pakjesavond.